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Topic Reading-Vol.3010-7/8/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Prague celebrates end of coronavirus lockdown with mass dinner party at 1,600-foot table
The Czech Republic seems to move faster than others in Europe and maybe in the world. The Czech government declared a state of emergency on Mar. 12, closed its borders a few days later and issued a nationwide curfew. The small republic with just 10 million population has seen over 12,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and about 350 deaths so far. While dozens of confirmed cases still have been reported daily, the country lifted the months-long lockdown and allowed citizens to have a gathering of as many as 2,500 people at a time. In Prague, the capital city and popular tourist destination, the residents were quick to celebrate the end of the restrictions and had a very long dinner on June 30. Indeed, they created a 500-meter-long table for a massive potluck dinner party. They must have enjoyed the outdoor dinner party without face masks or shields. But are they really in a position to celebrate anything at the moment?
Read the article and watch the video and think about what the republic will be like a few weeks from now.


Topic Reading-Vol.3009-7/7/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How Covid-19 will change our shopping habits
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, there are a variety of restrictions on shopping, such as social distancing, limited entry to stores, closed changing rooms, intense cleaning procedures, and quarantining goods, not to mention face masks and temperature checking to enter the store. Do these restrictions and requirements discourage you to go shopping, either for fun or function?
Whether you are a recreational shopper or functional shopper, you tend to spend more in stores than online, according to a survey in the US, where online shopping is more common than most other countries. It also found the shoppers make more impulse purchases when they shop in-store than online. Indeed, just looking around stores offers escape, socialization, and fun. So, even though more people choose to buy online, welcoming shoppers, whether recreational or functional, provide incentives for retailers to open their stores. Retailers now need to assure and lure shoppers for a safe and enticing shopping experience, new rules of the game for retail businesses.
Enjoy reading the article and think about what your next window shopping will be like.


Topic Reading-Vol.3008-7/6/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Could a boycott kill Facebook?
On June 17, a coalition consisting of social movement groups initiated a campaign to move the largest ad platform to do more to curb racism. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign demands that Facebook remove racist and hateful content from the most powerful ad platform by boycotting ad placement for the month of July. Maybe because of the recent “act now rather than wait” attitude among US consumer goods and retailers (also to gain bargaining power?), Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Starbucks decided to pull ads from Facebook in July. How will this affect Facebook’s deep pockets? Will small advertisers gain more attention from the viewers?
It seems that an online campaign and decisive movement like walkout, demonstration, and boycott are a powerful combination to change corporate behaviors, especially on the environment, social, and governance issues, or ESG.
Read the article and learn about another movement to support BLM.


Topic Reading-Vol.3007-7/5/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A bear in Italy has been sentenced to death after attacking hikers. Activists want a stay of execution
A death sentence to a bear? That is what the governor of Trentino, an autonomous province in northern Italy, signed. The bear, which is said to have attacked two men hiking on a trail in Mount Peller, is still at large. But once a suspected bear is caught, its DNA will be tested if it matches the remains and saliva of the bear that attacked the men.
Sounds like a manhunt of a human suspect, doesn’t it?
However, while the local authority is trying to capture, identify, and euthanize the suspected bear, activists demand a thorough investigation of the incident to find if the bear was intimidated or threatened by the victims.
Unfortunately, there were no witnesses of the incident and the bear won’t be able to testify its side of the story. Will there be fair treatment or justice in this case?
Enjoy reading the article and think about how the bear should be treated.


Topic Reading-Vol.3006-7/4/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Simpsons ends use of white actors to voice people of colour
Voice actor/actress is an actor who provides voice-overs or who voices characters in animated films, video games, etc. Indeed, voice actors audibly create the characterizer’s image and perception among the audience. It is not uncommon for a voice actor/actress to play the role of more than one character in animation. Also, some voice actors voiceover a character of a different race, color, nationality, or even gender. So, it had not been overly critical for a white voice actor to play the role of an Indian convenience store owner, black police officer, and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man in US animated comedy series The Simpsons. However, the recent Black Lives Matter movement, pushed the producer, along with the staff and actors of the animation series, to decide that it will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.
As reported in Vol.3005 yesterday, it seems that better to act rather than wait is the recent trend in the US where 60% of the population is estimated to be white, not including Hispanic or Latino.
But if only persons of a specific color should play characters of the color in animation or game, should persons of race or sex play characters of the race or sex? Is the character of the person more important than the skill to play the role? Will job postings state the race or color restrictions for the job?
Read the article and think about how far this character issue will go.


Topic Reading-Vol.3005-7/3/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Whole Foods workers sent home for wearing Black Lives Matter masks
Both are headquartered in Seattle, Washington, whose residents are highly sensitive to social matters. Both are a leader within the respective industry, online retailing and coffee shops. They are Amazon and Starbucks. Amazon owns Whole Foods, an upper scale grocery chain store. Neither Whole Foods nor Starbucks allowed its employees to wear clothes that explicitly shows a political slogan or message, like “Black Lives Matter.” The grocery chain store maintains and enforces the policy while the coffee shop chain bent its policy and supported the BLM movement. Some employees of the grocery chain store whose manager enforced the policy walked out to protest the company’s stance.
It seems like a highly controversial and sensitive issue for management. Clouds are appearing and everyone can see them. The management needs to judge whether they bring a storm that could change the landscape.
Social movements often arise. It is a continuous challenge for the management.
Read the article and think about what you would do if you owned a store with a restrictive dress code.


Topic Reading-Vol.3004-7/2/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
At least 83 people killed during lightning strikes across Indian state
Although nearly 70% of the nation’s population work in farms, India’s farmlands are rarely irrigated and thus depend on rainfalls to water their crops, especially cotton, rice, oilseeds, and other grains. And almost 80% of India’s precipitation comes during the Indian Subcontinental Monsoon, usually between July and September depending on the region. So, the timing for seeding is very critical for farmers. If they seed too late, heavy monsoon rain will wash out the crops and if they seed too early, hot and dry weather will kill the crops. On June 25, a lot of farmers were working outside preparing their fields when lightning struck widely in the north-eastern state of Bihar and killed at least 83 of them. Also, more than 20 people were reported dead in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh. Even though over 2,000 people are killed by lightning each year in India, it was a big hit to record more than 100 casualties in a single day.
A standard compensation of $5,300 will be paid to each family who has lost their loved ones.
Read the article and imagine what it is like to lose this many people each year only by lightning.


Topic Reading-Vol.3003-7/1/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The Segway is officially over
Invented by Dean Kamen in 2001, Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter (PT). It was claimed to revolutionize personal transportation and drew wide attention from the world. However, because of the high price tag, nearly $5,000 then and now $6,000 to $10,000, the innovative transporter never become a popular vehicle, save the police, tourist spots, and warehouses. In 2015, the manufacture of the PT was acquired by Ninebot Inc., a Chinese transportation robotics company. About 140,000 units have been sold in the last two decades, not as many as the inventor and investors had hoped.
Now, the Chinese parent company decided not to produce the personal transporter any longer. Could it have become much more popular if the price had started below $1,000?
Enjoy reading the article and think about why this innovative personal transporter didn’t replace other transporters or vehicles.


Topic Reading-Vol.3002-6/30/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Barcelona opera house reopens with performance to 2,292 plants
Opened in 1847, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, or Liceu, is an opera house in Barcelona, Spain. There are 2,292 seats on 6 levels in the opera house, most of which are usually seated by music lovers. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the theater had been closed for three months until this reopening concert took place on June 22. The UceLi Quartet string quartet performed Puccini's "Crisantemi" on the stage without face masks. They entered the stage and bowed to the audience but no applauds were given. When they finished the performance, no applauds were heard. Of course. Instead of the human audience, all the 2,292 seats were occupied by green plants! This unusual event was not only to commemorate the reopening of the theater but also to offer a perspective of the relationship between humans and nature. It was indeed a green concert.
You may wonder what happened to the plants after the concert. They are all handed to healthcare workers in a hospital.
Enjoy reading the article and watch the performance and audience of the famous opera house.


Topic Reading-Vol.3001-6/29/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Saudi Arabia says Hajj pilgrimage is on -- with limited numbers
Haji is a lifetime event for Muslims. It is one of the five pillars they must complete during their lives. Every Muslim who is physically and financially capable is required to make the journey to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once in his or her life. The holy sites in the kingdom are visited by over two million pilgrims most of whom are from abroad. Because of the scale and intensity of this annual event, there is a dedicated government function called the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in the host country. It seems like hosting the Olympic Games and World Cup every year in the same place.
The problem is that the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing and evolving. Receiving 1.8 million pilgrims from abroad in just a week is beyond scary to keep social distancing. So, the ministry announced that the kingdom will not accept any foreign Haji pilgrims this year. Those who planned to perform the duty now have to postpone their lifetime event to the next or a later year.
Read the article and watch the video to learn about another massive event that is called off this year.


Topic Reading-Vol.3000-6/28/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China and India need each other. Just look at technology
After a cross-border military conflict that left 20 Indian soldiers dead this month (Vol.2995), the Indian government announced that it will scrutinize direct investment from neighboring countries more carefully, obviously targeting China as other surrounding countries don’t have such investment arms. It is apparently part of India’s responses of rising anti-Chinese sentiment.
However, China is the second-largest trade partner after the US for India and exports more goods and services to India than any other country. Also, China is now the largest investor to India’s tech industry. Take smartphones for example. In 2019, all the top five best-selling smartphone makers in India, save Korea’s Samsung, were Chinese: Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Realme, all of whom have manufacturing facilities in India. Also, Chinese investors have shares in more than half of India’s 30 private firms whose respective net worth exceeds $1 billion.
While the tension over the border is rising, mutual dependence has already developed to an inseparable level between the two giants.
Enjoy reading the article and think about how much today’s supply chain and economic reality affect bilateral relationships.
Lastly, but not least, thank you for reading this 3000th issue of Topic Reading.


Topic Reading-Vol.2999-6/27/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Students may need masks for gaokao
Over 10 million students and nearly 900,000 monitors will gather at 400,000 test centers for two days on July 7th and 8th. It sounds like a massive gathering event even for China whose population is about to reach 1.4 billion. But gaokao, China’s national college entrance exams, cannot be called off. It is the most important and influential exams for Chinese students as the test results will determine which universities the exam takers can apply to, which could affect their future career potential as well. The exam is usually held in early June, but it has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
How are they going to manage this massive event while the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak is feared? Will facemasks, temperature checks, and social distancing be enough to prevent the virus from spreading?
It seems to be the risk to be taken for the future.
Read the article and learn how serious Chinese people are about this college entrance exam.


Topic Reading-Vol.2998-6/26/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Thai pilot, grounded by Covid-19, shifts to motorbike food deliveries
So many people usually work at airport facilities, such as cleaning, service, ticketing, securities, baggage handling, maintenance, guiding and dispatching as well as those who work for the vendors that provide goods, food, and consumables. Also, numbers of aircrew, like pilots and flight attendants, are usually onboard commercial aircraft. Now, most of the air travels are either suspended or cut, what are the lives of these workers? Some were laid off and others are on leave with a severe pay cut. They are desperate to get their jobs back soon, but the chances aren’t so likely. Still, bills keep coming as if nothing has happened and daily necessities must be bought. As most of the face-to-face businesses are suspended or shifted to online or virtual alternatives, there aren’t so many new jobs available out there. But there are a few businesses that are in high demand like delivery services. And that is where a grounded Thai pilot found a temporary job to feed his family. He’s now riding his motorbike on the road to deliver food to customers instead of flying an airplane to carry passengers. Though his income shrank significantly, he is still making some money. In fact, he might be fortunate to have a vehicle to do his business.
Remember, the airline industry had been one of the most prospective businesses before the pandemic, especially in Asia. And he did nothing wrong. Never say never.
Read the article and think about how those affected workers are making their living.


Topic Reading-Vol.2997-6/25/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Siberia's prolonged unusually warm weather is an 'alarming sign': scientist
Most of the world’s coldest inhabited places are found in Siberia. The Siberian winter gets colder from west to east, where its climate is often affected by currents of Atlantic origin. The coldest city is Ojmjakon, where the average temperature in January goes down to -46 °C, colder than the North Pole. But in summer, its average temperature reaches 13 °C, quite a gap, isn’t it?
In May this year, surface temperatures in Siberia were 10 degrees Celsius higher than average, the hottest May for the last four decades. In fact, surface air temperatures throughout winter and spring were higher than average. Meteorologists warn that this drastic temperature rise is a clear sign of accelerating global warming.
For example, the permafrost, ground that continuously remains frozen for more than a year, is melting in many places in Siberian. In June, a substantial amount of fuel spilled into a river from a power station in the Siberian city of Norilsk. The energy company claims that the foundation of the storage tank seemed to have sunk due to melting permafrost.
And of course, such climate and geological changes affect the environment and ecosystem significantly.
Read the article and learn about a clear and present impact of global warming.


Topic Reading-Vol.2996-6/24/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Oxford college wants to remove Rhodes statue
Cecil John Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in southern Africa in the 19th century. The British imperialism and white supremacist served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. As he contributed to the British Empire’s prosperity with the resources in Africa, he had been well regarded and respected in the UK and some of the former British colonies until recently.
Founded nearly seven centuries ago, Oriel College is one of Oxford Universities’ 39 colleges. On June 17, the governors of the college voted to remove the statue of the colonialist after a five-year “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign. Though Rhodes was one of the college’s most generous benefactors, the recent Black-Lives-Matter movement pushed the governors to end this highly controversial dispute.
Nowadays, it seems to be essential to be proactive towards sensitive social movements. Sooner rather than later to act. So, what will happen to South Africa's Rhodes University, which was named after him?
Enjoy reading the article and learn how sensitive racial issues are these days.


Topic Reading-Vol.2995-6/23/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
India-China dispute: The border row explained in 400 words
Kashmir is the northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent. The area is divided into
the Indian-administered territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
China and India have been disputing over Kashmir region for nearly a half-century. Though the disputed region is mostly uninhabited, both sides claim that it is strategically important both economically and militarily. (politically more likely) The problem is that China and India are the largest and second largest in the size of the active military in the world.
Recently, the tension has risen somehow, and military engagement took place. When this article was posted, there were three confirmed casualties on one side. But a day later, the number rose to 20. Both sides claim the other opened fire or intruded first. You never know what actually happened.
Border argument is hardly resolvable because it requires concession. Each side of the border has its side of the history and story. Neither side knows the other side of the history or story.
Read the article and learn about the nasty argument over this beautiful land.


Topic Reading-Vol.2994-6/22/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Dog 'adopts' nine orphaned ducklings at Essex castle
A dad looks after his kids for their mom is no new news. But if a male dog does it for a mother duck is a different story. Fred, a ten-year-old male Labrador, suddenly but voluntarily became a temporary stepfather of nine stranded ducklings when their mother mysteriously disappeared from Mountfitchet Castle, a tourist attraction in Essex in the southeast of England. The baby birds are still too young to fend for themselves. They just follow wherever Fred goes and sleep with him. They are even taken by Fred to the castle’s moat for a swim.
Sadly, this adorable relationship will last only for a few more weeks when those baby ducks grow and live by themselves.
Enjoy seeing the photos and video about this unlikely relationship.


Topic Reading-Vol.2993-6/21/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Taiwan airport offers 'pretend to go abroad' airport tours amid Covid-19 pandemic
Can’t travel abroad. It has been frustrating for leisure travelers not to be able to take a flight to somewhere to be away from home and spend extraordinary time. Annually, around 17 million Taiwan residents travel to international destinations, most of whom took flights at one of the three international airports. Even though there are many domestic flights in the country, going to the airport is like traveling abroad. So, how about taking a half-day tour at the capital’s airport to experience real-time, not virtual, immigration, boarding, disembarking, and another custom and immigration for re-entry? Well, if you go to a Japanese restaurant afterward, you might feel like having had a day trip to Japan. It may not be so appealing to experienced travelers, but first-timers and children may be interested in this extraordinary tour. Will there be an inflight meal or duty-free shopping?
Enjoy reading the article and think about what would bring you to the airport.


Topic Reading-Vol.2992-6/20/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Birds aren't all singing the same song. They have dialects, too
Though humans say birds sing, birds, usually the male, communicate to scare their neighbors or to attract female partners. But are birds of the same species always sing the same song, or in the same way? Do they have different languages or dialects like humans?
For some bird species, singing is innate, meaning they sing in the same way in any place. But others seem to learn to sing from their adult males in the environment so that they sing differently from the ones of other territories. It sounds like having local dialects like humans. If such birds are isolated from their peers, they don’t learn to sing their songs at all and keep babbling like a baby. Interestingly, when they learn to sing from their adults, they often make changes or mistakes. And those altered songs are passed through generations in the territory and eventually become a local dialect.
We humans just enjoy the way birds are singing but they sing for their purpose in their own way.
Enjoy reading the article, listening to their songs, and seeing the sonograms to learn why and how birds learn to sing.


Topic Reading-Vol.2991-6/19/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Are human beings naturally lazy?
Do you consider yourself lazy? If yes, how long can you stand doing absolutely nothing in your room, no nap, phone, or TV? You may think that is a sort of luxury out of your busy life. But what if staying at home for a few weeks without working, going to school, or hanging out? Sounds like a long vacation at home, but can you enjoy doing nothing or as little as possible for more than a few days? In fact, that’s difficult, like some of you might have experienced during the coronavirus lockdown.
While some people usually try to avoid any work or effort that involves mental or physical strain and just make the least effort, many of you have developed industriousness through experience and persuasion that effort leads to reward and makes you feel pleased.
So, in a sense, we are naturally lazy, but in the meantime, we are also an effort-seeking being. That’s why enforced quarantine or lockdown is so stressful.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about our natural tendencies.


Topic Reading-Vol.2990-6/18/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The world's best egg dishes
Eggs are very nutritious. Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value for protein. One regular-size egg has 75 calories with seven grams of high-quality protein, five grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. Also, eggs aren’t that expensive in most places in the world. Usually, a hen produces 500 or so eggs before her productivity declines (meaning slaughtered) and she doesn’t need to be fed like cows. Yes, eggs are environmentally friendly food.
But just being beneficial doesn’t always stimulate your appetite. In fact, eggs are one of the most complementary natural foods. They go very well with almost any food, such as rice, bread, chicken, bacon, cheese, and most vegetables and also can be used in any type of dishes like soup, appetizer, side dish, main dish, or even dessert or snack.
If you only know certain ways to enjoy this valuable food, enjoy seeing these photos to find the dishes you want to try.


Topic Reading-Vol.2989-6/17/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Britain goes coal free as renewables edge out fossil fuels
The first Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain,
Ever since the first coal-fired power station was built in London in 1882, coal-fired power stations have been generating a substantial share of electricity for homes and businesses, and even for electric vehicles. In fact, they still generate over a third of the world’s electricity while emitting over 10 Gt of carbon dioxide each year.
Recently, coal-fired plants, along with other fossil-fuel-burning plants, have been replaced by renewable energies, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal especially in Europe. Even in the UK, the origin of the first Industrial Revolution and coal-burning technologies has been shifting from coal to renewables rapidly in the last decade. In 2010, about 40% of the country's electricity came from coal while only 3% was generated by wind and solar. But so far this year, renewables have generated more power than all fossil fuels combined. Accordingly, the first fossil fuel powerplants to be shut down are coal-fired power stations, the most environmentally unfriendly source of power.
Well, no more steam locomotives, the symbol of the Industrial Revolution, are running regularly in the world, investors and power companies don’t seem to be so reluctant to replace the legacy power plants with renewable energy sources.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the dramatic power shift in the UK.


Topic Reading-Vol.2988-6/16/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Racism definition: Merriam-Webster to make update after request
Noah Webster's American Dictionary of The English Language was first published in 1828. The right of the dictionary was bought by G & C Merriam Co, a Massachusetts publishing company, in 1843, and was made to Merriam-Webster. This iconic dictionary is claimed to be America’s most trusted online dictionary for English word definitions, meanings, and pronunciation.
Now, how does this prominent dictionary define today’s most disputed and controversial topic in America? Racism.
: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities …
: a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism…
: a political or social system founded on racism
: racial prejudice or discrimination
Last month, a newly graduated student of Drake University in Iowa pointed out that racism is both prejudice combined with social and institutional power, and also is a system of advantage based on skin color to the leading dictionary. She then suggested that the definition include a reference to systemic oppression without expecting a response. Surprisingly, she got not only a reply from the dictionary the next day but also an agreement on a later day to update their definition including the term systemic with example sentences or two.
Easy to say to act sooner rather than later. Though the dictionary is nearly two-century-old, it is now an online dictionary that deals with constant changes in the context of modern society.
Read the article and think of an example sentence for racism.


Topic Reading-Vol.2987-6/15/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus in DR Congo captured on camera
Located in Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formally called Zaire, is the largest country by size in sub-Saharan Africa. Though the country is rich in natural resources, such as cobalt ore, copper and diamonds, it has been politically instable, corrupted, and lacked infrastructures, just like other resource-rich developing countries.
It is not easy to be born, grow and become adults in DR Congo as the maternity and infant mortality rates are both one of the highest in the world, and measles, Ebola, Malaria, and Yellow fevers are also common diseases. In fact, more than 6,500 children have died from measles and nearly 2,300 people lost lives because of Ebola for the last 18 months. So, you can easily assume that the Covid-19 pandemic is a big health threat to the nation’s 85 million-or-so population.
How are their lives like? Usually, stories from Africa are reported by outsiders from developed countries whose eyes and perspectives are different from the natives’. Now, there is a new online platform that allows local photographers and journalists to report actual voices, images, and videos on the streets and towns in Congo.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos of the lives in DRC and learn how difficult for the Congolese to live through infectious diseases.


Topic Reading-Vol.2986-6/14/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How important is diet for a healthy immune system?
How can you improve your immune system, which does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms? To function the immune system well, it requires balance and harmony both physically and mentally (like positive thinking in Vol.2985), and healthy and balanced nutrition are essential. Unfortunately, there is no superfood that provides all nutrients to keep your immune system functioning. You want to try to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits to obtain all the nutrients your immune system needs. For example, the colors of vegetables and fruits show what nutrients are contained. Also, you need proper type and amount of bacteria in your gut to keep your immune system working well. In addition to fruits and vegetables, you want to have wholegrain foods such as brown bread, rice and pasta, and beans. Fermented foods also increase and activate microbes, such as yogurt, good cheese, not the highly processed ones, and fermented soybeans like natto.
Yes, it seems that you need to do a lot to live a healthy life.
Enjoy reading the article and plan your next grocery shopping for a healthier life!


Topic Reading-Vol.2985-6/13/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Negative thinking linked to dementia in later life, but you can learn to be more positive
Dementia is a disease and impaired condition such as a decline in memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking skills that affect a person's ability to perform everyday activities including memory loss. It has been thought that repeated negative thinking increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common cause of dementia.
Also, those who look at life from a negative perspective have a higher chance to suffer cardiovascular risk than positive thinkers. One reason could be the link between positive thinking and health attitudes, such as a healthier diet and exercising. What do you think about your attitudes towards life and health? Both positive, one positive and the other negative, or both negative? But is it that simple to label people by asking if the glass is half empty or half full? What about those who are kind of between them, like those who don’t think things so much anyway whether positively or negatively? Also, is it that easy to convert perspectives from one side to the other even if you know you should?
Read the article and think if a cloudy day is better than a rainy day.


Topic Reading-Vol.2984-6/12/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Is it safe to go to a pool, the beach or a park? A doctor offers guidance as coronavirus distancing measures lifted
It’s been already three months since the outbreak of coronavirus started spreading to the world, and in many cities and states, lockdowns, business closures, and social distancing orders have been in place. In the meanwhile, summer is coming in the northern hemisphere, where nearly 90% of the world population lives. People want to get out of their houses and enjoy outdoor activities. But what activities are safe? There are all sorts of outdoor activities on your wish list, such as walking or jogging outside, swimming or beaching, and traveling or visiting someone by car or public transportation. Which activities are risker than others when it comes to the virus infection?
Enjoy reading the article and learn some tips as to how to enjoy outing amid the pandemic.


Topic Reading-Vol.2983-6/11/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: Two-metre rule 'must be relaxed for musicians'
It seems that social distancing is another absolute law around the world. But how far should the distance be, 2.0 meters like in the UK, 1.8 meters, or 6 feet in the US, 1.5 meters in Australia, or 1 meter in France or Italy? What about the passengers in every other seat on an airplane or train? How about the audience in a music hall or a movie theater? Then what about the musicians on stage or in a recording studio?
Along with face masks and shields, social distancing is thought to reduce the risk of becoming infected during the coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, it makes it difficult for many people to get back to their businesses. Musicians are struggling to make their living as theaters and venues are closed. Even for recording, playing orchestral music while keeping the UK’s two-meter social distancing rule is challenging. How does an orchestra sound under such an extraordinary configuration?
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the challenge musicians are coping with.


Topic Reading-Vol.2982-6/10/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How getting rid of dustbins helped Taiwan clean up its cities
The more trash bins there are, the cleaner the streets may look. However, that doesn’t seem to reduce waste at all. In fact, many people tend to feel less conscious of waste management, and some even throw out garbage and trash into street trash bins from home. That seems to have been the situation in Taiwan a few decades ago. When the island nation reached the point where most of the island’s landfills reached their full capacity, people were tired and sick of the odor from the landfills and concerned about environmental problems. Finally, in 1998, reluctant lawmakers pushed by the public movements passed the Waste Disposal Act to promote recycling and waste reduction. The government also stopped just collecting and dumping the waste and removed most of the trash bins from the streets. The results were better in places where people were more educated about waste management and recycling.
If you visit the mainland, you’ll see numbers of trash bins all around and won’t find garbage on the streets any longer. That’s better for tourists and visitors but what the next step will be?
Read the article and learn how precious the consumption habits and environmental behaviors of the citizens are.


Topic Reading-Vol.2981-6/9/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Theme Park Put 22 Teddy Bears On A Roller Coaster
No social distancing needed for Teddy Bears to ride on a coaster.
Walibi Holland is a theme park in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands. It originally opened in 1973, went bankrupt in 1993, and reopened the next year. One of the newest attractions is Untamed, which opened on July 1st, 2019. The coaster runs 1km in 1:46 at a maximum speed of a little over 90 km per hour. It drops 35 meters at the maximum vertical angle of 80 degrees. It sounds quite scary, doesn’t it? However, this newly built coaster had been closed until recently because of the coronavirus pandemic. Tough it reopened on May 25, reservations are needed to get the ride to keep the social distance. So, to amuse those who are still unable to come to the theme park, the park staff uploaded a video of the coaster that is filled with 22 Teddy Bears. And you know what, the video went viral on the Internet. The bears look surprisingly real and cute!
Enjoy watching this amusing and pleasing video.


Topic Reading-Vol.2980-6/8/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Vegan seafood: The next plant-based meat trend?
These days, more and more people are avoiding meat for a variety of reasons, such as health, faith, animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and food safety. Some of them substitute animal meat with seafood or meat alternatives, and others become vegetarians or vegans. Indeed, alternative meat business and investment have been showing healthy growth in the food industry. So, it may not be surprising to find plant-based seafood on the menu or on the shelves soon with similar taste, texture, flavor, and health benefits of seafood from water. Though there still are technical challenges to replicate delicate and fragile seafood, there seems to be a high demand for plant-based seafood, and where there are market demand and investors’ interest, suppliers will eventually overcome technological and financial challenges.
How soon will we see vegan-sushi, plant-based fish and chips, or soy-calamari on the menu?
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the challenges to produce affordable and sellable vegan seafood.